Visionary Project Interview with Norma Miller

With all this talk about Frankie, I don’t want to overlook one of his surviving peers from the old days, Norma Miller.   Fortunately, I randomly found the recently uploaded clips of her doing an interview with the Visionary Project.

Here Norma gives some interesting background on Hellzapoppin’.  It’s a very sobering reminder that those days weren’t just about dancing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Frankie95 Highlights and Observations Pt. V

Part five of my Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday Festival recap with a few grammatical edits from the original.  You can see a compilation of videos from Saturday and on Sunday here on my site.    This note was originally posted on June 23, 2009.

George Henik reminded me that the Saturday night didn’t end with the live music. Anyone paying attention will note that the Saturday late night was the only time when we featured an extended DJ set. The reason was simply because we didn’t want to put the pressure on musicians to try to follow the show that preceded it that night. However, I think we left the night in the good hands of Jesse Miner and Rayned Wiles.

They kept the crowd going so well that they didn’t want to stop dancing even after they left the ballroom after 4:00 am. This was obviously not late enough for the 100+ dancers who loitered in front of the Manhattan Center until someone got the bright idea to just start clapping hands and get everyone dancing again. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Video Highlights: The Ninjammerz Invade Asia

The Ninjammerz hit up Japan and Korea last month brought lots of new material with them, and were greeted with an equal amount of creativity.

Thanks to these YouTube users for posting these videos

Annie Trudeau & Max Pitruzella

Sarah Breck & Dax Hock

Sarah is the newest addition to the team.  Check out the sick hand and foot sequence at 2:00. Read the rest of this entry »

Frankie95 Highlights and Observations Pt. IV

Part four of my Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday Festival recap. Again just a few grammatical edits.  You can see a compilation of videos from Saturday here on my site.    This note was originally posted on June 11, 2009.

You would think everything would have gotten easier after we settled into the Hammerstein Ballroom, our home for the last half of the event, but not so much. Read the rest of this entry »

Random DCene(s): The Lion or the Squirrel?

Anyone that lives in DC for any amount of time has a squirrel story.  I have several including one where I was pickpocketed by one and another that involves the word threesome.  I’ll save those for another day.

This weekend, I was walking through the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial when I ran into some very friendly squirrels.  Or hungry.  It’s usually the latter, but like a lot of people in DC, they’ve learned to mask their true motivations behind a thin veneer of furry charm.  My camera phone documents what happened next.

Times like this I wish I had a real camera.  You’ll have to forgive the picture quality here since the camera on my phone isn’t that fancy.  It doesn’t even have a zoom feature, so these shots were taken pretty close. These squirrels were either very fearless or incredibly vain.

You can see a squirrel trying to sneak up to my artsy shot.  We’ll call him Derek. Read the rest of this entry »

Frankie95 Highlights and Observations Pt. III

Part three of my Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday Festival recap. In addition to some grammatical edits, I also added a bonus video at the end.   You can see a compilation of videos from the Friday daytime activities and the Friday Night activities here on my site.    This note was originally posted on June 8, 2009.

On Friday we did it all over again because we had to move everything from the Grand Ballroom to the Hammerstein Ballroom downstairs. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to skip out on the memorial service and the dance at Central Park. It was a tough decision especially after David had detailed the line up to me earlier in the week. The speaker and musical guest list was loaded, a testament to Frankie’s influence.

How many memorial services have a warm up band consisting of Count Basie alumni like Benny Powell and Frank Weiss? Major props to Lana Turner for putting that memorial service together along with the funeral just a few weeks previous.

I consider this memorial one of the main pillars of the event. I hope everyone who could was able to attend. For my part, after the near mishaps from the day before, I thought it would be wise for one of us to be on site to trouble shoot problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone is Doing It.

via Obamarama.  Check out the caption there.  That’s right. Even Obama wanders and ponders.   That’s how we roll in DC.

It’s Monday.  Boo-Ya!

Weekend Video Review: The Harlem Hot Shots Go Old School

Sometimes falling behind pays off.  My next video update was going to be videos from this year’s Swing/Jazz Dancing Music-Video Contest sponsored by the Seattle Vintage Jazz Dance Society.  Fortunately, new blogger, Jazzpirations is on the case.  This is the same contest that produced the moving “Why I Dance” video I posted previously and also the Clayzapoppin video that’s been making the rounds on people’s Facebook walls.  Check out the rest of those innovative videos on Jazzpirations.

This frees me up to talk about the Harlem Hot Shots’ huge week.  Last weekend they performed in the show “The Last Bounce” which is supposed to be the last show featuring the Stockholm based dance company Bounce.  As you’ll see from the video, it was a huge arena sized show in front of thousands of people.  According to the website they did five shows in front of a total of 54,000 people!

The reason the Hot Shots were part of it is probably because one of the founding members of Bounce  is David Dalmo who was also a member of the Rhythm Hot Shots, the predecessor to the Harlem Hot Shots.

Old school Lindy Hoppers used to refer to David as the Lindy equivalent to Jesus back in the day.  He’s a multi-time Swedish Lindy Hop Champion and one of the first World Lindy Hop Champions.  Although he went on to bigger things with Bounce, you can still find him teaching at Herrang Dance Camp most summers.

Then on April 29th, the Hot Shots went head to head with hip hop crew, Streets ‘R’ Us at an event called the Oldschool Battle 2010 Round #2.  This is a follow up to a similar event that was held last year.  I posted one of the videos from that in my 2009 review.

The concept is pretty straight forward.  Lindy Hop vs. Hip Hop.  Winner takes all.

I’m only posting highlights here.  There are over 20 videos from this event at  Also, if you can. Check out these great pictures on Facebook.

So who won?  See the last video. Read the rest of this entry »

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